Global, Regional and National Perspectives
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Nigel Bankes, Irene Dahl and David L.DahlVanderZwaag VanderZwaag
Chapter 15: The regulatory regime for aquaculture in the Philippines
Aquaculture is one of the oldest industries in the Philippines. Although it is unknown precisely when aquaculture was introduced into the islands, organized fishpond culture of milkfish was noted underway in the towns of Hagonoy and Malabon on the coast of Manila Bay in the late nineteenth century, and species such as carp, shellfish, and shrimp were already being commercially cultured in the early twentieth century. Apart from basic licensing at the municipal level, however, systematic national regulation of aquaculture was not undertaken until the enactment of the Fisheries Decree of 1974. More stringent legislation was enacted in 1998, which was followed by numerous administrative orders that have made aquaculture a heavily regulated industry today. Aquaculture forms one of the three legally-defined fisheries sectors in the Philippines. The other two sectors are both capture fisheries, divided into nearshore ‘municipal’ fisheries conducted either without fishing vessels or with boats of 3 gross tons or less, and ‘commercial’ fisheries conducted for trade, business or profit beyond subsistence or sports fishing using vessels weighing 3.1 gross tons or more. The regulatory attention is understandable considering the importance of aquaculture to Philippine fisheries. Of 4.86 million mt of fish produced in 2012, aquaculture contributed 2.54 million mt or 38 per cent. Historically, aquaculture has contributed about one-third of the total value of fishery production in the Philippines, but in terms of volume has consistently outstripped the two capture sectors. The volume of fish produced through aquaculture has also steadily risen to about double that of the other sectors, which have stagnated since 1995, surpassing the latter since 2007. The Philippines is presently ranked as eleventh in the world in the production of cultured fish, crustaceans and molluscs, comprising 1.22 per cent of the total global aquaculture production.
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